The Struggle Is Real

by Mar 4, 2022Easy and Light

The Struggle Is Real

Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.

Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

I f you are familiar with Matthew 11:28-30, chances are it’s the NIV version. While my go-to translation will always be NIV, that translation of this passage uses words like “burdens”, “weary” and “yoke.” Is that the same as an egg yolk?

Of course, intellectually I understand it, but reading The Message version paints quite a different picture. As I mature as a Christian, I can honestly say I see the value in most translations, but when I’m going through something that drives me to worry, or when I sin and feel guilty, the right version of the right scripture always seems to bubble up to me somehow.

I’ve been facing my sin a lot during COVID. I’ve been much more judgmental than I’ve ever been. I’ve spent much more time alone, inside with nothing more to do than cruise social media. I know that’s not a sin in itself, but it is a time suck and I feel ashamed I haven’t been more productive after spending 3 hours scrolling! And let’s face it, there are images one comes across online that can wreak havoc. I feel like haven’t been living as Jesus wants me to live.

Praise you Jesus Christ for your rest! For teaching me how to show grace, mercy and love to all people. For showing me how much you love me in spite of me. You are the Only King Forever! Amen!

But here’s the cool part. When I think about what Jesus is saying in Matthew 11:28-30 – that He won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on me – it makes me realize that the shame and guilt I’m carrying is my problem. I’ve placed those heavy things on myself. Jesus isn’t walking behind me ringing a shame bell. No, He’s standing there patiently waiting for me to realize I don’t have to take all this on.

I used to think following Jesus was hard because it costs too much, but what I really thought was that it costs me too much. Following Jesus meant I couldn’t be free to do what I wanted. But one joyful day, the Holy Spirit spoke to me and asked, “Free to do what?” Free to be sexually immoral? Free to be self-centered? Free to choose hate?” The burden of sexual immorality, pride, hatred or any sin is a whole world heavier than the unforced rhythms of grace and love that Jesus would have me bear.

We talk about “the struggle” a lot in Christian circles. And truly, there are struggles, for every Christian and on every level… but the struggle is the sin, not the following. Following Jesus is easy. It’s when we forget Him and pick up the heavy object of sin that the struggling starts.

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